Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) makes an action call for tax justice between 15 and 26 March. Grazielle David, Global Policy and Campaigns Coordinator at Global Alliance for Tax Justice, told us the action call and the movement.

Interview: Burcu GENÇ

Grazielle David, Global Policy and Campaigns Coordinator at Global Alliance for Tax Justice

Could you please tell us briefly about the history of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice?

The Global Alliance for Tax Justice is a Southern-led global coalition in the tax justice movement. It was created in 2013 by six regional networks; in Asia (Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia), Africa (Tax Justice Network Africa), Latin America (Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe), Europe (Tax Justice-Europe) and North America (Canadians for Tax Fairness in Canada, and FACT Coalition in the USA), collectively representing hundreds of organisations.

Since then, on the national level, we have been campaigning for progressive and redistributive taxation systems and at the international level for a transparent, inclusive and representative global tax governance. In other words, we work for fairer and sustainable tax systems that fulfil human rights and fight inequality around the world.

From 15th to 26st of March, you are making a call for Global Days of Action on Tax Justice for Women’s Rights. Could you please tell us about it more? What is the aim? How anyone can include themselves in action? What are the events that are going to be held?

In 2021, we will hold the 5th edition of our annual and global campaign on tax justice for women’s rights, which will take place from 15 to 26 March. This has been one of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice’s priority themes since the very beginning. Willing to advocate for systemic changes to make taxes work for women, in 2016 we created our Tax and Gender Working Group, which is a powerful collective fostering collaboration across gender justice and tax justice movements to achieve social and economic change.

Women experiencing multiple and intersecting discriminations are those who bear the worst brunt of any crises — and it is not different now amid the COVID-19-triggered crisis. It has been deepening pre-existing inequalities and exposing vulnerabilities in our current social, political and economic systems. Through this campaign, we aim to shed light on alternatives to the current economic model and call on multilateral institutions and national governments to build back a rights-based economy and advance towards gender equality.

At the global level, we will hold a seminar together with our regional networks on 15 March, to share information on the regional contexts and our work around the world to make taxes work for women. Besides, on 23 March, we will launch our Feminist Taxation Framework Guide, produced by our Tax and Gender Working Group members, and will show what a gender-responsive taxation framework looks like. At the regional and national levels, our members will also organize (due to the COVID, mostly online) mobilizations around the world. You can read all about the campaign here and the complete agenda will be available soon on our website.

We invite everyone to engage by participating in our events/mobilisations and sharing information on the global tax justice’s demands within their contacts. People interested in volunteering to help us throughout the campaign are also invited to contact us at [email protected].

Lastly, I want to congratulate you on your nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, together with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for exposing and tackling illicit financial flows. I wanted to ask how global tax justice contributes to peace? How does this relate to the pandemic?

Thank you! We are honoured to be among the great nominees for this prestigious prize. This is a big recognition not only for the Global Alliance for Tax Justice and the ICIJ but for every single tax justice activist and investigative journalist whom many times put their lives in peril to expose illicit financial flows and tax abuses.

In a report we co-published with Tax Justice Network and Public Services International last year (State of Tax Justice 2020), the investigations show that the world is losing at least US $427 billion in tax every year to international tax abuse. Of this amount, nearly US $245 billion is lost to multinational corporations shifting profit into tax havens to underreport how much profit they actually made in the countries where they have businesses and, consequently, pay fewer taxes than they should. The remaining US $182 billion is lost to wealthy individuals hiding undeclared assets and incomes offshore, beyond the reach of the law.

It is important to note that this is a conservative estimate, as we looked at data that was available from the biggest corporations on the OECD — but we know the amount is a lot higher. Can you imagine what the world could do with these US $ 427 billion to tackle the COVID-triggered crisis? How many vaccines could our public health systems afford? The sum we lose to tax havens every year globally could pay for the annual salaries of over 34 million nurses. We simply won’t tackle this crisis conjuncture without tax justice.

Tax justice is essential to collect the public funding needed to fulfil our human rights and reduce inequality in and between countries. There is no enduring peace without social justice and no social justice without tax justice.

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